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Gallery Timeline Revealed for Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

Explore the names and timelines for the opening of the Smithsonian's final exhibit spaces.

The new World War I: The Birth of Military Aviation gallery will highlight how massive wartime investments in aviation accelerated the pace of development in aircraft design, performance, and technology. At the same time, a massive workforce was mobilized to make it happen. [courtesy Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum]

Many of us started “pandemic projects” in the last few years, picking up a craft or hobby that helped keep us focused and sane during lockdowns. People raised chickens or learned new skills, and some started flight training. The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., has also been working on a project over the past six years.  While it got started before the pandemic hit, the project has developed through that time, so perhaps it counts. This week the museum unveiled the names and estimated timeline for the last 12 galleries to open as part of its extensive renovation.

Set to open in spring 2025, the “Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall” and “Barron Hilton Pioneers of Flight” galleries will join the Lockheed Martin IMAX Theater and the museum’s entrance on Jefferson Drive, marking a significant milestone in the museum’s multi-year renovation project. Additional galleries are expected to open in phases, with most of the remaining spaces set to welcome visitors by the museum’s 50th anniversary in July 2026.

The museum’s east end, now prepared for exhibition installation, will showcase over 1,600 artifacts, including items that have undergone conservation and restoration. The upcoming exhibitions cover a diverse range, from “At Home in Space” and “Futures in Space” to “World War I: The Birth of Military Aviation.” The museum’s commitment to sharing aviation history is evident in its dedication to providing a comprehensive narrative of the past, present, and future of flight.

The renovation encompasses a complete redesign of all 20 exhibition spaces, an exterior cladding face-lift, and the replacement of outdated mechanical systems. The completion of the stone replacement on the building facade in December marked a significant project milestone, with around 12,000 exterior stones replaced.

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The first half of the renovated National Air and Space Museum opened its doors in October 2022, featuring eight new or reimagined exhibitions, a planetarium, a museum store, and the Mars Café. 

Visitors to the museum, located at Sixth Street and Independence Avenue S.W. in Washington, can explore the rich history of aviation from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. EST daily, except on December 25. Free timed-entry passes are required for admission.

The museum’s renovation progress and additional information can be found on the official website, reflecting the institution’s commitment to transparency and engaging the public in its exciting journey toward a renewed and enriched visitor experience.

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